Friday, June 12, 2009

Relax. A time for blissfull introspection and self actualization.

I went back through some of my recent posts, and I think I may have been a little harsh on coaches in general recently. It makes me think about what coaches do, and what coaches are. I guess they are a lot like parents for adults, setting limits, and encouraging you to greater heights, while at the same time picking you up, dusting you off, and setting you straight when you make a wrong turn.
In college, I was lucky enough to play on the basketball team for a year. My coach owned me for 2-3 hours a day, and because my "scholarship" required that I also work at the gym 5-10 hours a week, he owned me for that too. This is what happened during high school sports as well, they would teach me about the sport during practice times, but that is where they stopped. The dedicated athlete would pick up where practice left off, and do more drills, run more, take a weight training class, join another sport, play basketball at lunch, go back to the gym after dinner and play basketball from 5:30 until the gym closed at 11pm, then leave for a while, then sneak into the gym and either play basketball or go swimming after it was closed, then (at college) drink beer until 4am, then wake up for practice at 6am, eat a big breakfast, (or go to the morning class) then nap until lunch, and so forth. If you count the weight lifting classes, and the extra-curricular sports, and the rec-league, and the pickup games, I was technically "exercising" 8+ hours a day on the light days.
Here is the clincher: Nobody told me what to eat. Nobody told me to stop doing so much exercise, there was not really a measurable 'taper' to my days, aside from my shooting form, there was no discussion of my running form, or my posture, or what i should eat before, during, or after the workouts to ensure that I was working at peak performance, or so that I did not wake up the next morning with huge charlie-horses, or sore as hell.
I think this is why I am so taken aback when I am told that I can not go further or do more just because I feel like I can. There is a formula when training for an endurance race that needs to be followed for optimal results. There is probably a formula for working out for any sport, but the coaches of the time, or the coaches of that level were so focused on the execution of the 'plays' that there was no mention of how you should take care of yourself outside of practice so that you could benefit the most from your time in practice. nobody told me that just because I could eat a steak sandwich before a game without throwing up, that maybe i shouldn't eat that because it will be in my stomach and intestines for a long time, and could mess me up, just like they did not care about stretching. These things are more important for me now that I am in my 30's, because I can feel the effects more readily. If I eat a big steak sandwich before working out now, I will likely hurl. If I dont stretch, I will likely not be able to walk tomorrow. If I do an extra 500-1500 swim now, just because I can, that means I will likely not workout as well tomorrow, or I will bag the whole thing because I am really sore.
I see the rationale behind it, but it is still really hard not to want to do more now that I feel like I can. Ultimately, I want to be ready for my races in September, and the only way to do that is to listen, learn, and do my best.
I think that also means not eating two cheeseburgers, fries, baked beans, etc, just because I am really hungry and can. I will be full after eating just one burger, and will feel much better and may actually lose fat faster if I can control those urges.

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